The Gothic way with an igloo.
It snowed yesterday.
This is the proof that we are easily distracted if not barking bonkers mad ( to quote one of the childrens friends). Actually I had a cunning plan to get the boys interested in clearing snow, this snow was sticky and rolled up well into giant snowballs, I thought they might just roll the snow off the footpaths…back to the shovel.
Still we got the other stuff done too even though it entailed the husband writing e-mail instructions for a project in India until gone midnight. I finally baked the Christmas cake which looks OK and I’ve got up early to get the butter icing made for my mother in laws birthday cake also made yesterday.
Butter icing is one of my stong suits, I discovered as a teenager how to make the real deal from the Penguin Cordon Bleu Cookery book which is one of the few cookbooks I use, in fact I am on my second copy the first one fell apart. It offers three ways to make posh butter icing. I use the Italian merigue method which today will involve :
3 egg whites
6oz icing sugar and
12 oz of unsalted butter.
flavour as required (that’ll be Brandy or Pear brandy today then)
You mix the sifted icing sugar with the egg whites place in a bowl over a pan of boiling water and whisk until the mixture fluffs up and looks just like shaving foam, allow to cool , cream the butter and fold the two together. I have just proved that it is possible to drink tea while whisking the meringue its not that arduous.
Its quite a big cake and we took it out of the oven a bit too soon so theres some stuff to cover up!
It actually has to be unsalted butter for this, this is not one of those recipes which calls for unsalted butter then adds salt on the next line. My inbred carefullness objects to buying unsalted butter unless it is really neccessary as it generally costs more (except in Lidl) and keeps a lot less well. I think this is a mark of how bound we have become by the way people who cook in restaurants cook.
No2 son had to produce a ‘masterpiece’ for school once in any medium…at short notice of course. We went for a master chocolate cake with this icing and numerous chocolate embellishments dreamed up by No2 which went down well…all the children had a slice but then it was last seen disappearing in the direction of the staff room and was never seen again. I’d do the same if I was surrounded by kids 4-11 year olds everyday.
I have to add that things were getting a bit fraught towards the end of yesterday and I realised how easy it would be to become dependant on brandy soaked sultanas if they were freely on offer every day.
Yesterday morning the snow was adding an inch per cup of tea as I surfaced. Its a shame in a way its in the Christmas run up there would be more fun to had with it if there weren’t other competing activities. As in shame of shames I havn’t made a pudding yet ( still its the easiest of the lot the pud, I reckon)